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Friday, February 13, 2009

A Canadian healthcare plan: "Don't get sick!"

Actor and stand-up comic Steven Crowder (he voiced this character on PBS' Arthur) responds to the frequent calls he hears by American liberals for a Canadian-style universal healthcare system.

As someone who spent time living in Canada, he speaks from experience:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 13, 2009 in Humour | Permalink


Well done.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2009-02-14 12:50:36 PM

Dumb-ass little punk. I'd love to feed that little shit about 20 right hands, and see how long his wait time is.

For all you folks out there, too young to remember Canada before universal health care, let me enlighten you. If you allow medical professionals to regulate services, people die.

I got the measels in 1960. That was before Nova Scotia had universal coverage. We were poor, just like 75% of the population. My parents were worried, and stayed up, playing cards. I was 5 years old, and had never been up past midnight. I remember the clock moving ever so slowly to 3 am. My temperature kept rising little by little. I started hallucinating at 4 am. Finally, my parents made the choice between me living and buying groceries for the week.

The doctor we had made housecalls. He was an evil looking bastard. His wallet was huge! I've seen pimps with less cash in their pockets. He'd get a little smile on his face as my mother handed him our last $5. That night, as I hallucinated, he stuck a huge needle in my ass, and said "that'll be $7. He made a little extra off people who were too poor to have cars. Ain't that free enterprise at its finest?

I'm a conservative at heart, but the right to life and health in this society should be guaranteed. The US has medicaid for poor people. Canada never had that system. Poor people weren't only deprived major surgery, they were deprived basic medical service. When I reached school age, we did get vaccinations for free. I was the first in my family to get Polio vaccine in school. I knew plenty of people, just a few years older, with shriveled limbs.

Is that what you want to go back to? Really?

Little dumb-ass punk. A few uppercuts for good measure.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-15 10:51:44 AM

Ever read "The Pearl"? The doctor in that book was a saint compared to our family doc.

At least that kid's family had a slim chance to hit it big.

I hope that little shit plays a club near my town. I'll show him a whole new level of heckling. Ever see the video of Pauly Shore getting knocked out by a redneck? Yours is coming Chowder.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-15 10:58:06 AM

While that was your personal experience or memory of it, dp, being older I recall a completely opposite situation prior to socialised health care in Canada. I had no health care insurance and only made an average salary, yet I never had trouble paying for health care and doctors made home visits, very different ones from the one you experienced. The solution would have been to get a different doctor. The fact remains that people did not die waiting for treatment.

Socialised health care is the same as socialised anything in that it is rationed which is why people had to wait in long lines to purchase bread, milk, meat and other food items in the old Soviet Union.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-15 12:01:55 PM

That guy calls himself an actor/comedian? I think he would be better as a telephone solicitor.

Posted by: glen | 2009-02-15 1:16:10 PM

I had no health care insurance and only made an average salary, yet I never had trouble paying for health care and doctors made home visits.............
Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-15 12:01:55 PM

Ah the good old days of Marcus Welby and Dr. Kildare. I do remember my mother telling me about a friend of hers who had a son, before Medicare, who was born with a hole in his heart. They had to borrow money from their parents, take out a second / third mortgage to pay for his operation because their medical insurance didn't cover it. They were effectively bankrupted. Yup, those were the good old days.

And spare us the BS about rationing. Health care is a finite resource and is rationed by people's ability to pay. Alain would like to go back to the days when infant mortality was triple or quadruple of what it is today because if you can't afford health care too bad. Ever see a kid recently wearing braces because he had polio? The reason is because the government (taxpayers) paid to have children vaccinated. Do you like seeing kids with polio?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-02-15 3:14:27 PM

Alain- I'm not sure where you grew up, but the theme of my rant was that there will always be kids, through no fault of their own, who are refused health services in Canada's old system.

We had hospital insurance when I was a child. It was paid for by provincial sales tax. Older people in NS still refer to that as hospital tax. My dad had a heart attack when I was about 10 years old, and was able to stay in the hospital for free. His follow up care was non-existent, and he had suffered quite a few subsequent attacks. He survived for quite a few years, but never was healthy past age 55.

When I was born, my dad had to pay cash for the delivery. I was the first/only one born in a hospital, because my mom was almost 40. He still had to pay the doctor $500, which would be around $5000 in 2009 dollars. That would really smart for someone having trouble making it. He held that against me til the day he died, even though I repaid him ten times over. We should have robbed that SOB doctor, and left him to die in the swamp behind our house.

Speaking of polio, I knew two guys who got it at the same time. One ended up with a brace on one leg. but the other lost use of both legs. One night the guy with one good leg explained that the other guy came from a poor family, and they didn't take him to a doctor quick enough. He was one step away from an iron lung, but of course his family couldn't have afforded one, so he would have eventually suffocated.

This probably sounds like third world stuff to any of you who grew up in the west, or Ontario. Believe me, I'm not making this stuff up. I'm only 53, and I remember this stuff like it was yesterday.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-15 5:53:00 PM

Stig, indeed our health care is rationed which is the reason for people dying while awaiting treatment. As for citing the odd sad case prior to socialised health care, I can cite a lot more cases under the present system. Do try to address the topic with facts instead of the typical personal attack.

dp, I was living and working in Montreal at the time and later the same in Nova Scotia. I believe the sales tax in NS only came to be known as the hospital tax after the introduction of socialised health care, for I was living there when it happened. I should add that prior to socialised health care people only consulted a doctor when really necessary as opposed to now.

No amount of sentiment can change the fact that the present system does not work and is slowing dying. Holding on to a non workable system as though it is a sacred cow will simply not make it work. Anyway enough said.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-02-15 6:44:07 PM

Alain- I think the present system works well for kids, and that's important to me. If I get sick when I get older, wait times are okay with me. I'll sacrifice for the sake of children having better access.

The big noise we're hearing right now is being instigated by greedy professionals. They all want to make a million bucks a year, and think a privatized system would be the ticket. No matter how you try to calculate the cost, if doctors make more money, it's a more expensive system. Private insurance companies aren't gonna do us any favours. They're in it to make a profit, a big profit.

It's sort of pointless arguing, but if it ever came to a vote, I think we all know the outcome.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-15 7:15:06 PM

The big noise we're hearing right now is being instigated by greedy professionals. They all want to make a million bucks a year, and think a privatized system would be the ticket.
Posted by: dp | 2009-02-15 7:15:06 PM

Ironic isn't it that we subsidize their medical education. I wonder what the doctors would say if they actually had to pay the real cost of their medical training.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-02-15 8:17:55 PM

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